Lawmaker Profile

Sen. Pat Roberts

[R, KS]
U.S. Senator Pat Roberts is a Kansan through and through.

He was born in Topeka, graduated from Holton High School and went on to earn his journalism degree from K-State. He always puts Kansas' needs and concerns front and center in his public service career. For 16 years, he represented the Big First District, including his home of Dodge City, in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1996, he was elected to the U.S. Senate. He is currently serving his fourth term.

Roberts has built a reputation as a national leader in agriculture, health care and defense. He is an advocate of a strong education system, free and fair trade policies, increased investment in science and technology, a focused foreign policy and a strong military - all of which are necessary to keep Kansas competitive in today's rapidly evolving global marketplace.

Senator Roberts is Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. He becomes the first member of Congress in history to have chaired both the House Agriculture Committee and the Senate committee. He has also served as the ranking member of each committee. With a record number of votes in favor of his bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill, Senator Roberts also becomes the first member of Congress to write and pass a Farm Bill in both chambers. Roberts continues his work in the 116th Congress ensuring that farmers and ranchers have the tools they need to advance American agriculture. He is fighting barriers to trade and regulations that threaten producers' competitiveness.

As a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, Roberts gives Kansans increased leadership on legislation ranging from taxes to trade, health care, Medicare, Social Security, the aviation industry and transportation - issues impacting all Kansas families.

Roberts' record shows his long-standing concern for Kansas communities, businesses and families. A member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Roberts has passed legislation to end the federal mandate on Common Core and to preserve local education decision-making. As co-chairman of the Senate Rural Health Caucus, Roberts has worked hard to ensure rural communities have access to the same affordable high quality care as their urban counterparts. He has fought to improve Medicare for patients and providers including rural hospitals, doctors and pharmacists. He voted against Obamacare and will work to repeal and replace it with a plan that lowers health care costs for all families and prohibits cost controls that would interfere with treatment decisions between doctors and patients.

Roberts is committed to increasing Kansas' investment in math, science and technology, urging schools and universities to remain highly competitive by investing in research infrastructure.

Roberts recognized the biosciences industry developing in Kansas starting in 1996 and has carefully looked for ways to enhance its development to promote an industry that has tremendous potential for growth, will keep Kansas' best and brightest in Kansas and will make Americans safer. Roberts has been recognized as a leader in food and biosecurity. He held the first hearings on the issue in Congress, has helped pass major biosecurity legislation, assisted Kansas State and other Kansas schools in gaining federal research investments, leading to the Biosecurity Research Institute (BRI) at Kansas State (housed in Pat Roberts Hall). Finally, he led the state's effort to compete and earn the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), a new federal laboratory to replace the aging federal plant and animal research facility at Plum Island.

Kansans also know Roberts as an advocate for the states' military installations and those who serve in uniform. A former Marine, he played a key role in strengthening Kansas' military missions despite nationwide base closings - bringing thousands of new jobs to Kansas. He is the most senior Marine in the Congress.

As chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee for four years, Roberts worked to improve intelligence gathering and analysis capabilities at a critical time in our nation's history. When concerns arose regarding the timing and accuracy of U.S. intelligence on pre-war Iraq, Roberts led the Intelligence Committee through one of the most sweeping and exhaustive reviews of U.S. intelligence ever conducted. The bipartisan report, unanimously approved by the members of the Intelligence Committee, revealed systemic failures within the intelligence community. The review led Roberts to propose critical and forward-thinking intelligence reforms. Many of his proposals were included in the 9/11 Intelligence Reform Act of 2004. In 2004, Roberts delivered the prestigious Landon Lecture at Kansas State University on national security topics.

Senator Roberts is also privileged to be a member of the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Ethics Committee. He is also Chairman of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission, which is building the national memorial to Kansas' favorite son in Washington. The memorial's dedication will be in 2020.

Pat Roberts is a fourth generation Kansan. Born in Topeka on April 20, 1936, Roberts is the son of the late Wes Roberts, chairman of the Republican National Committee under President Dwight Eisenhower. His great-grandfather, J.W. Roberts, founded the Oskaloosa Independent, the state's second oldest newspaper. Following graduation from Kansas State University in 1958, Roberts served in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years, then worked as a reporter and editor for several Arizona newspapers. He joined the staff of Kansas' U.S. Senator Frank Carlson in 1967. In 1969, Roberts became administrative assistant to First District U.S. Congressman Keith Sebelius. Roberts and his wife, Franki, have three grown children - David, Ashleigh and Anne-Wesley, and seven grandchildren. They own homes in Dodge City and Topeka.